PartIII Chapter 4.3
Quest Day 6 – the hours of the Valar
Ben-adar had left the others. He left them with the body of Aragorn and their grief.
He had called together the ‘Powers of the World’ the eight Aratar, the mightiest Lords and Queens of the Valar; there was much to do before the dawn!
Manwë greeted their prophet and champion of The Light. The others, Ulmo, Aulë, Oromë, Námo, Varda, Yavanna, Nienna, sat in silence, stony-faced; they perceived what Ben-adar wished of them, and that they must refuse.
Between them all the elements of world and beyond, of the skies, seas and earth, the air and waters, of the living, the dead and those in the Halls of the Waiting, were in their control, but it was not for them to intercede in what he was to ask of them. Yet they respectfully gave him the audience he requested and Ben-adar put forward his cause:
‘Mighty Spirits of Arda, you have charged me with the Quest, and have seen the progress that has been made. As with all things, this progress has come at a cost. It is to set right this cost that I have come before you.’
Manwë looked at the others and then spoke for them:
‘Noble prophet of The Light, we have tracked the happenings of your charges; they have been insightful and courageous in their missions. We have watched them in their deliberations and trials, and have been jubilant with their success and saddened by their ordeals. We have granted them powers beyond the normal realm to ease their way, but as you know, we can venture no farther… The Quest must find its own course…’ Manwë hesitated to deny outright Ben-adar’s petition as yet unheard.
‘Great Lord, I seek no more than would be within your domain to accede and bestowed on others in the history of Middle-earth.’
‘Then prophet ask it directly, but know where we must stand.’
Ben-adar realised that all rested now with how he made his case; he continued persuasively but reverently:
‘Of all that was seen and planned, The Dark Lord has personally interceded twice, for which, though resisted valiantly, the members of the Quest have no response in like manner to make, and which put in jeopardy the existence of earth itself. I ask that the Valar should likewise intercede to counter that of The Dark, as across the Ages has been done,’ Ben-adar paused to see if Manwë wished to comment, but the Valar were silent, foreseeing what was on his mind to say.
Ben-adar proceeded passionately:
‘The parts of the key to Melkor’s void have been reassembled; on the Night of the Dark Moon the Walls of Night will be breached and Melkor’s spirit will be melded with that of Sauron.’
He breathed deeply, for it was with overwhelming pain he had to reveal:
‘And Sauron has stepped from his realm and slain Aragorn. I seek the Valar’s interception to… ’
A heavy hush hung as prophet and his lords considered the momentous unspoken request.
It was Námo, the Doomsman of the Valar, that at first replied in grim tones, as was his character:
‘Prophet, you ask of matters which lie with the dooms of beyond Aman and the Halls of Death, both are immutable ….… but I cede to the command of Manwé…,’ and Manwé answered:
‘It is not in our power to undo the death of a one… or resurrect a mortal…’
‘Then an immortal, an elf,’ was Ben-adar’s response.
‘It is possible to do so …’
‘Then a half-elf…’
‘Yes, a half elf...’
Then Ben-adar argued, as another had similarly to save a city in biblical times in another world:
‘What if a quarter elf…or a tenth…’
‘What if one drop of blood was elven…’ and he held out the blood of Aragorn on a golden Mallorn leaf where it had flowed as he died.
‘Prophet, were it possible, then from the Halls of Mandos the reborn would remain in Valinor, not return to Middle-earth… except…’
Ben-adar interjected heedfully:
‘As Glorfindel…or Lúthien, and even Beren…’
Manwé paused, answering gravely:
‘You would ask us to venture beyond all reasonable bounds…’
‘But not the bounds of possibility…’ Ben-adar rejoined emphatically.
Manwé shook his head, somewhat in frustration that his prophet would argue so, steeping across the lines of courteousness, but then recognising the vehemence of his plea, responded sympathetically:
‘Ben-adar you have argued your case well… in terms of possibility , for while we cannot undo Aragorn’s death as a mortal man, with the elven force of his ancestry, such as you propose is retrievable, but the re-embodiment so derived, would not be the Aragorn you know… It might restore his physical form but not his spirit – that of the ranger, chieftain and king; not his soul, thoughts or linkage to his people – he would be an elven clone of the one you seek.’
Ben-adar had accounted for this, and replied:
‘Great Lord, the resurrected elven form in itself cannot be all of what the man Aragorn was, however, with Light’s band that Aragorn wore, and which until the dawn embodies his life forces, his personality and thoughts, those openly expressed and those mediations of his heart, if worn, with the Ring of Barahir, linking him to the history of his people, will make him as Aragorn was...’
‘Never completely as he was…’ Manwé corrected.
‘But physically and cognitively as close to what he was…’ Ben-adar added.
‘Prophet do not be deceived by the rationality of your argument, this form will be his equal, a clone with his memories and thoughts, but he will not be Aragorn…’
‘Better this than as fate has metered out in the forest of LothLórien …’
Manwé did not respond, he looked at the other Valar, then pronounced:
‘We will consider your petition…’
‘The answer must be found before the dawn...’
‘We understand the urgency of our deliberations.’
Ben-adar bowed humbly before The Eight, and took his leave.
Ben-adar was recalled. The Eight sat before him.
Námo announced their decision:
‘For the sake of the Quest, and in the terms of your petition, the elven form of the King of the Reunited Kingdom can be retrieved via the elven blood-ancestry from Idril Celebrindal, descendent of the House of Fingolfin, royal daughter of Turgon and mother of Eärendil and the line that leads to Aragorn. His re-embodiment, attuned by Light’s Band and the Ring of Barahir, will pass from the Halls of Mandos to the parallel of time crossing the Ages of Middle-earth and that of the Quest.’
Námo paused in thought.
Ben-adar was relieved and elated; it was as he had hoped for, he bowed to the Doomsman and then Manwé, expressing his jubilation…
‘My Lords, this is truly…’
However, Námo interjected sinisterly:
‘Prophet speak not with elation until all has been revealed, for there is a barb in this boon…’
Ben-adar looked at Manwé, but Manwé deferred to Námo.
‘To enable Aragorn to be re-embodied and then borne to the time and place of the Quest, the barrier between Mandos and this time will need to be disabled, and with it, all obstacles blockading the path to the Walls of Night. Thus on the Night of the Dark Moon, the Valar will be unable to close-off the channel between Sauron and his Master, Melkor, or repel the melding of their spirits. Thus you have two contrary paths: the resurrection of Aragorn or barring the union of the Dark Lords – consider carefully these options, you alone must make the choice.’
Ben-adar was horrified at what was posed to him… but there was no choice to consider; he responded immediately:
‘I choose the resurrection of Aragorn.’
There was no further discussion.
Ben-adar returned to LothLórien as the night was in its last gasp, moments before the dawn. He called for Galadriel, Celeborn and Elrond and told them what had transpired.
They waited, their world muted in awe, as: ‘dawn came glimmering, and slowly a grey light grew about them. At last he rose, and now his friends could see his face: it was pale and drawn, and his look was troubled‘ (Tolkien, TT, ‘The Riders of Rohan’), yet it was as they had promised, Aragorn was alive.